The blood on my hands was as yet invisible, but it was there all the same. The night was thick and wet. The tropical storm that raged a mere hundred miles offshore would taunt all those who would dare to predict its path, or the direction of its fierce winds.
The destructive force in his marine-blue eyes met my own. I knew my eyes were unreadable except for a few people who really knew me. Dad was one. Years ago, my friend Marcus did. But, I had done my best to distance myself from them over the last few years. Now it was time to come back. Now it was time to plunge into the dark, hot cauldron of need. Running was not doing anything for me except exhausting me.
But, there was the question of
Seated on the small balcony overlooking beach, I listened to old recordings of Celia Cruz, singing of azucar negra. My favorite song of hers, “te busco,” (I look for you), floated in the thick wind. In my hands, I twisted an octagon of hand-tatted lace I had bought at an outdoor artisan fair at a tropically lush plaza in Asuncion, to the scream of parrots, the chatter of small monkeys perched on roofs. Her deep, expressive voice. My thin whisper of despair.
Thick multi-colored threads, surprisingly strong in my fingers as I pulled, twisted, worried the lace. The lace was called “nanduti” or “spiderweb” in Guarani, the indigenous language of
If you were a woman who had imposed herself on this culture, a woman with alien and unrealistic dreams, you would wake up deceived, defrauded, and aware that something had happened to you, but not sure of what that might have been.
You would feel, in contrast with the hairy, ungainly Pombero, utterly hairless, utterly helpless.
This was as good a place as any to stop doing the things I really should not be doing. I had blood on my hands. A force higher and greater than anything I had ever suspected existed was pushing me toward the knowledge of what I would need to do to take the blood away, or at least neutralize it enough to enter into a state of bartered grace.